A MILITARY GOVERNOR AMONG ABOLITIONISTS.
NEW Y E K
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THE NORTH CAROLINA COLLECTION
A MILITARY GOYERNOR AMONG ABOLITIONISTS.
New York, February, 1865.
To Hon. Charles Sumner, Senator from Mass.
Sir: — An eminent gentleman of Boston remarked,
with great force and truth, that " fanaticism hardens the heart
and darkens the understanding ; and Avhere there is neither
common sense, nor common charity, the very first step in a
process of reasoning cannot be taken/'
The author of this remark must have had you in his
mind's eye when he wrote this sentence. All who know you
are compelled to admit you have no common sense. You
are as remarkable for want of it as you are for your preten-
sions of scholarship, and of being an earnest man, deeply
sjonpathizing with distressed humanity. I shall satisfy all
who read what I have to say of you, that you are not only
destitute of charity, but full of malice.
It is no feeling of retaliation that urges me to address you
this communication. I would not inflict personal injury up-
on you if you were in my power ; but I owe it to my friends,
especially in Massachusetts, to defend my character against
your slanders, or rather to show them who my assailant is.
Had you attacked me under your own name, as you did in
the Senate, in June, 1862, I should have regarded it with
indifference, as I did that attack. When I saw in some
newspaper that you had animadverted, in terms of censure,
upon my conduct as Military Governor of North Carolina, I
remarked that it was all fair, only " tit for tat," for, some years
ago, in the House of Representatives, while I was a Member of
Congress for that State, I had assailed you, and had no right
to complain now. But when you write an article for a liter-
ary periodical, among whose contributors are several gentle-
men of high character, and no information is given that the
public may know who is the author, that is a different affair.
Then I have a right to bring my traducer before the bar of
public opinion, and to expose the motive which instigated
In April, 1862, I had the honor to receive, in San Fran-
cisco, from Mr. Stanton, Secretary of War, a telegraphic de-
spatch, announcing my appointment as Military Governor of
North Carolina. It was entirely unexpected and unsolicited.
I accepted — glad of an opportunity to render any service to
my country. I had not been in North Carolina a week, be-
fore I was made the subject of most unjust vituperation, as
I will presently show. Letter- writers reported to newspapers
not what they knew, but all the "it is said" reports to
my discredit. Editors dealt in terms of abuse, and clergy-
men, thirsting for the applause of mobs, tired of preaching
peace on earth and good will to men, wearied with the celes-
tial truths of Holy Writ, turned aside to prey on the garbage
of abolition slander.
During a visit to Washington city, a few days ago, being
reluctant to believe you were a malignant man, wishing to
act according to the golden rule of doing unto others as we
would they should do unto us, and desiring to avoid per-
sonalities in anything I should publish in my defence, I
sought an interview with you, in order that I might submit
to you some evidence to induce you, in a Christian and gentle-
manly spirit, to make reparation for the injustice done me by
your article on " Our Domestic Eolations," published in the
I was sadly mistaken. But before I refer specially to
that interview, and to the letter which followed it, it is prop-
er to say, that you made reference to a speech I had made in
Congress some years ago.
Hinc illce lacrymce. It was but too apparent that the
recollection of that speech was rankling in your heart. I had
not forgotten, as I told you, that I had made the speech.
On the next day, I went to the Congressional Library, to see
whether the speech had been reported, for that I did not
In the appendix to the Congressional Globe, 3'2d Con-
gress, 1st Session, page 694, I found the cause of your en-
mity. The speech was delivered on the 12th of June, 185*2.
There is no statute of limitations, Mr. Sumner, to your hate.
The following quotation from that speech was in your re-
tentive memory when you wrote " Our Domestic Rela-
tions : " .
" And who is now the representative in the Senate of the Coalition
in Massachusetts? Charles Sumner. "What a fall was there, my country-
men ! In that greatest of great speeches, delivered by Mr. "Webster, in re-
ply to Hayne — a speech which would have made its author immortal, had
he made no other — there is a beautiful apostrophe to Massachusetts. ' There
6he stands,' he said ; ' look at her.' For many years past the country
has said, with pride, pointing to her Senators — look at her ! But then,
Webster and Davis were there ; then, Ohoate and Wiuthrop were there.
But who says look at her now? "Whom has she given us by democratic
votes as the successor of Webster and Winthrop ? Look on that pic-
ture, and then on this, O Massachusetts ! and hide your diminished head!
Her present senator is the author of a speech 'on our present anti-
slavery duties,' at the Free Soil State Convention in Boston, October
3d, 1850, some extracts from which were published in the Republic
newspaper, a few days ago. In that speech, among other things, the
Democratic Coalition success or ofWebster thus spoke of the Fugitive Law
and of the President :
" ' Into the immortal catalogue of national crimes this has now passed,
drawing with it, by an inexorable necessity, its authors also; and chiefly
him, who, as President of the United States, set his name to the bill, and
breathed into it that final breath, without which it would have no life.
Other presidents may be forgotten, but the name signed to the Fugitive Bill
can never be forgotten. There are depths of infamy, as there are heights
of fame. I regret to say what I must, but truth compels me. Better far
for him had he never been born. Better far for his memory and for the
good name of his children, had he never been President.'
"And yet, sir, the man who made this speech has been so des-
titute of all regard for .propriety, as to be seen visiting the President,
whose situation compels him to receive all visitors! Oh! shame, where
is thy blush? I shall, hereafter, have another word to say of this wicked
speech. In place of Webster, the journeymen platform-builders in Massa-
chusetts have sent us a fantastic Malvolio, who puts himself into the
trick of singularity ; and, by a peculiar tact for thrusting himself where
he is not wanted, he seeks commendation for his 'yellow stockings,' when
he is ' cross-gartered.' When he speaks, we look at him ; and, remember-
ing his speeches to Free Soil Conventions, we say, 'O, peace! Con-
templation makes a rare turkey-cock of him. How he jets under his
advanced plumes ! ' "
It was to this speech, Mr. Sumner, that you alluded in
our recent interview. I confess it does not present you in a
flattering point of view ; but what honest man will say, the
facts being correct, that it was not a just rebuke ? "I
regret to say what I must, but truth compels me." This is
not the only instance in your conduct of a total disregard
for all propriety.
If I mistake not, you were at college with the Hon. R. C.
Winthrop. While he was in Congress, shortly after the
United States had declared war against Mexico, you visited
Washington, and, of course — being noted as one given to
hospitality in accepting invitations — you accepted his invita-
tion to dinner. Shortly before coming to Washington, you had
anonymously assailed your old friend and college-mate with
coarse abuse. Yet, not dreading the " depths of infamy/' you
ate of his salt, and " smiled and smiled " while drinking his
wine ! You soon returned to Boston, and renewed your ca-
lumnious assaults upon the gentleman of whose generous hos-
pitality you had just partaken.
Mr. Winthrop made some publication, appended, I be-
lieve, to a volume of his speeches, in which he gave you a
just rebuke, and declined further social intercourse with you.
From this publication and from conversation with other
gentlemen I learn this fact ; I do not remember ever to have
heard him mention your name. Can I be grieved because I
am calumniated by such a man as this " earnest " Charles
" I regret to say what I must, but truth compels me."
Upon another occasion — I have forgotten what— probably at
a free-soil convention, or a meeting of spirit-rappers, or a
woman's rights convention, or a peace society, where you have
always secured the most rapturous applause — you wantonly
vilified a gentleman of high character in the city of Boston —
a man respected for his strong intellect, and honored for his
public services and private virtues — I mean the late Nathan
Appleton — and shortly afterwards, entirely unconscious that
you had been "personal," having only referred to him
" simply for illustration," you called on Mr. Appleton, when
you were told, as I have frequently heard, that your visits
were not welcome and must not be repeated. The Malvolio
of the Senate was no doubt surprised at Mr. Appleton's no-
tions of propriety.
When you came to the Senate, Mr. Sumner, it is well
known that for a long time you were silent upon anti-slavery
questions ; your policy then was, to " scorn the base degrees,"
by which you had ascended, and to ingratiate yourself into
the society of Southern gentlemen. The abolition press
began to annoy you by complaints that you lacked nerve,
" had no backbone," &c, had been corrupted by association
with slave-holders. One gentleman of high character and
position, to whom a friend of yours sought to introduce you,
at a levee at the Presidential mansion, turned his back upon
you, declining to be introduced to Mr. Sumner. It is un-
necessary to cite other well-known instances of like character.
It was not because you were a violent anti-slavery man that
you were despised ; Adams, Hale, Seward, Chase, King, and
others had been older and abler soldiers in the anti-slavery
cause, but they were gentlemen, not whining sycophants,
or secret slanderers of public men ; they were honored for
their integrity, abilities, and private virtues, by gentlemen
from all sections : they were never accused of partaking of a
gentleman's hospitality and then stabbing his reputation in
the dark. There is another cause for your hate of every
Southern gentleman. You were the victim of an outrage,
when you received a blow in the Senate-Chamber from a
Southern man : an outrage justly condemned by every
Christian patriot in our country, and by none more than by
myself. And since you recovered " backbone " enough to
resume your seat in the Senate, your imagination from every
inkstand bodies forth a revolver, from every pen a bludgeon,
in the hands of a Southern man.
These things account for your want of charity, and for
the dread and horror you entertain at the thought of peace,
which may bring back again to Congress some of those you
bo sincerely hate ; for you would as soon " meet the d 1
alone," as see the Southern States again represented in the
But to return to the " Atlantic Monthly." When my
attention was called to " Our Domestic Kelations," your
name was not given as the author. I have already stated,
that had your name appeared as the author, I should have
passed it by without concern ; that not being the case, the
following correspondence took place :
San Francisco, November 28£7i, 1863.
To Messes. Ticknor & Fields, Boston.
Gentlemen : —
In the " Atlantic Monthly " of October, published by yon, there is an
Article entitled " Our Domestic Relations," in which, on page 509, appears
the following :
" The conduct of at least one of our military magistrates seems to have
been a counterpart to that of these ' bashaws' of Cromwell, and there is
no argument against that early despotism, which may not be urged against
any attempt to revive it in our day. Some of the acts of Governor Stanly
in North Carolina, are in themselves an argument against the whole
My purpose in addressing you is to ascertain the name of the author of
the article, in which so unjust and unfounded an imputation is made
against me. I may be able to satisfy him that he has been imposed on
by malignant libellers; that "some of the acts" of which he has heard
were committed after consultation with, and upon the advice of Major-
Generals Burnside and Foster, commanding the Department of North
Carolina, while I was acting as Military Governor ; that these acts were
reported to the President and Secretary of War, and after examination,
my conduct was approved by them ; that some of the attacks against me
in the newspapers were misrepresentations of " some of the acts " referred
to, and have been proved such.
I do not object to — on the contrary, I solicit — the most severe scrutiny
of some, or of all my acts, while I was Military Governor of North
Carolina. If it were supposable that the author of the article could have
been influenced by vindictive feelings, and would be glad of an oppor-
tunity of indulging them upon sufficient excuse, I would inform him, he
has my defiance to afford your readers, or the public through any other
channel, an elaborate and searching review, of any or of all " the acts "
If he be a gentleman, incapable of doing injustice — of striking an an-
tagonist from behind — if he be not one who is " willing to wound, and
yet afraid to strike," I wish to ask him to specify "some of the acts of
Governor Stanly in North Carolina " which have provoked the remarks
in the " Atlantic Monthly," which I have quoted.
In this way only can I furnish a proper defence, at the proper time.
I am the more sensitive in relation to this, because the attack comes
from Massachusetts, to whose fame I have never been unjust; with most
of whose sons — some illustrious dead and living — whom I liave met in
public life, it has been my good fortune to be on the most friendly terms :
we have often taken " sweet counsel together," to resist the attempts of
the wicked men who have caused this horrible war ; with some of her
sons my pride has been and is, that I possessed evidences of their esteem.
"While I do not suppose you will allow the " Atlantic Monthly " to be
used for personal controversies, yet I believe you will not allow any man
to be assailed unjustly, by any of your contributors. If it be not contrary
to the rules by which your conduct as publishers is governed, I hope you
will give me the name of the author of " Our Domestic Eelations," and
do me the justice to publish this letter, that your readers may be informed
Istand ready, when specifications are given, to defend any attack upon
my conduct as Military Governor, and to prove that, while discharging
the most painful and embarrassing duties of the office, I did nothing that
I wish concealed from public examination ; nothing unbecoming a Chris-
tian or a gentleman ; nothing to bring reproach on the administration, or
on my own, I trust, hitherto unstained reputation.
Very respectfully yours, &c.
Boston, January 19ZA, 1864.
Hon. Edward Stanly, San Francisco.
Dear Sir: —
Your favor of November 28th came to hand this morning.
Hon. Charles Sumner, Senator from Massachusetts, is the author of the
article referred to by you, to whom we must refer you for such explana-
tion as you desire. He will doubtless be happy to give it.
"We send you by this mail a copy of the article.
Yery truly yours,
TICKNOR & FIELDS.
San Francisco, February \Qth, 1864.
To the Hon. Charles Sumner, Washington City.
In answer to a letter from myself, addressed to Messrs. Ticknor &
Fields, of Boston, they inform me that you are the author of an article
in the " Atlantic Monthly," of October, 1863, entitled " Our Domestic
I enclose a copy of my letter to the publishers of the "Atlantic
I have not the slightest objection to any examination of my conduct
while I was acting as Military Governor in North Carolina. I admit the
right of any citizen to examine and censure any or all of "the acts of the
But I have the right, when thus assailed, to ask, as I now do, very
respectfully, that you would specify " some of the acts" which you think
deserve the condemnation you have given them.
My purpose in writing this communication is explained in the letter
Your obedient servant, &c.
Senate Chamber, May 18£A, 1864.
Dear Sir: —
Your letter of 18th February, which was handed to my clerk, has been
over-laid by a mass of unanswered letters, so as to have passed out of
mind, until my attention was again called to it.
Let me say to you frankly that in my brief allusion to yon, I intended
nothing personal. Public attention had been already called to certain
incidents during your administration of North Carolina, which seemed to
my mind to show the impolicy of such a military system of government,
and I referred to them simply for illustration.
In reply to your inquiry as to these acts, I beg to refer you to a
pamphlet which has recently appeared in New York, entitled "Brief
report of the services rendered by the Freed People to the United States
Army in North Carolina in the spring of 1862, after the battle of New-
bern, by Vincent Colyer, Superintendent, &c, of the Poor, under Major-
General Burnside. Illustrated. New York, published by Vincent Colyer,
105 Bleecker street, 1864."
P. S. The pamphlet contains an enumeration of the acts.
This brings me to Mr. Colyer's pamphlet. I attempted,
while in San Francisco, unsuccessfully, to obtain a copy.
After some trouble, on my reaching this city recently, I
The " enumeration of the acts," in Mr. Colyer's pamph-
let, will be found on page 55, in the following paragraph :
" The searching of my premises for Harriet the slave-girl, by Bray, and
his carrying back of another, having an order in writing from Governor
Stanly, permitting him to do so ; the order given to the captain of the steam-
er Haze, and, it was said, to others, forbidding him from taking any freedmen
North, under pain of the confiscation of his vessel ; the promise to Mr.
Perry of $1,000 for the man Sam Williams, whom I had taken North with
me; the demand upon General Burnside for that amount, because I had
not returned Sam ; the expatriation of Mr. Helper ; all these acts of Gov-
ernor Stanly, which were known to hundreds, make it unnecessary for
me to say any more."
For the sake of human nature, I could almost wish I had
done some unkind act to Mr. Colyer, that could have given
him some excuse for deliberately writing that paragraph. I
have heard that Mr. Colyer was a " preacher," as well as an
artist. When he called to see me, in North Carolina, he
was treated with all the respect due to a clergyman. I am
not conscious that I have ever done him wrong. Yet, after
twelve months, or more, had passed away, without excuse,
without the hope of doing good to any one, and without pro-
vocation, he has published a pamphlet filled with misrep-
resentation of my conduct.
In the sentences quoted there are three falsehoods, some
of which I will prove by General Burnside, whom Mr. Colyer
has tried to make a witness to support his statements.
As soon as I succeeded in procuring a copy of the Keport
in which Mr. Sumner found an " enumeration of the acts of
the Military Governor/' and saw General Burnside's name
mentioned to support Mr. Colyer's charges, I addressed a letter
to the General, enclosing the extract quoted above, and asked
him to give me a statement relative to the matters comment-
ed on in the pamphlet.
His answer I give below. His character, as a patriot-
soldier and Christian gentleman, ensures credit for any state-
ment he may make. I wish General Burnside's letter re-
membered in connection with what I shall state hereafter.
Providence, E. I., Jan. 16th, 1865.
Hon. Edward Stanly
My Bear Sir: — I beg to own the receipt of your letter of the 9th
instant, referring to a paragraph in a pamphlet written by Mr. Vincent
I have never seen the pamphlet, but in reference to the passage you
quote, I do not hesitate to say that you never made a demand of me for
payment for any person's slave ; neither did I hear you promise payment
to any one for slaves. At Newbern you came to me, in company with
a Mr. Perry, who had remained at home when we entered the place, and
who was among the first, if not the first, of those who took the oath of
The joint proclamation issued by Commodore Goldsborough and my-
self, in accordance with our instructions, assured those who remained at
home that, as far as possible, their persons and property would be pro-
As in all instances, where places have been suddenly and forcibly oc-
cupied by troops, many depredations were committed by our people
at Newbern ; and Mr. Perry, who had suffered among others, felt that
he should have some redress. Both you and I advised him to trust to the
Government, and at the same time expressed the opinion that the Gov-
ernment would pay loyal citizens for property appropriated to the public
service; but no promise or demand was, to my knowledge, made by
The status of the negro had not been well defined at the time, by the
Government, and I was instructed to say as little about it as possible; so
that all my actions and conversations w T ere necessarily guarded.
The emancipation proclamation of the President bad not been issued
at the time.
There was much excitement in tbe city, I remember, in reference to
negro schools, and ill-advised steps were taken by some of the soldiers to
exasperate the negroes. I advised you to have a guard at your quartsrs
and accordingly ordered one there.
I have always understood from you that you did not order the schools
closed ; but know nothing of it personally. One of our soldiers was ar-
rested for making a speech denunciatory of you, but was released at your
Mr. Helper was sent off, by your order, for writing you a very violent
letter; and, a3 I remember it, I entirely coincided with you.
In closing, I am glad to say that, while in North Carolina, our official
intercourse was characterized by a disposition, on your part, to cooperate
with and assist me, on all occasions ; whilst our personal intercourse was
of the most friendly nature.
I have the honor to be,
Very respectfully yours,
A. E. BURNSIDE.
Thus, it will be seen Mr. Colyer's witness does not sup-
I am sorry to say Mr. Colyer is guilty of deliberate false-
hood. His sketches with his pencil are most silly and ludic-
rous exaggerations ; but they contain as much truth as the
representations made by his pen.
I did give Mr. Bray and his wife permission to search for
their slave-girl. I would do so again, under the same cir-
cumstances. His wife informed me she had been carried off
against her consent ; was in bad health, and needed nursiDg
and such attendance as could not be had in the crowded
state of the houses occupied by the negroes, who were then
dying on an average of ten per day. I believed this state-
ment. Mr. Bray had given no aid or comfort to the rebel-
lion. He resided a short distance from the town, within our
lines. In fact, part or the whole of a regiment was encamp-
ed on his land, and within sight of his house ; so there was
no probability that the "slave-girl" could be carried among
the rebels. I had never seen the girl. Such a painter as
Mr. Colyer may be of " imagination all compact." He can
see " Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt." He speaks more
than once of the " great beauty of many of the quadroon
girls, who attended my school, for the more advanced
From what I heard and believed, I thought I was rescu-
ing the slave-girl from a den of infamy, and restoring her to
a virtuous home.
There was one other case, that I remember, of what Mr.
Colyer calls " returning fugitive slaves to their owners."
Two respectable persons, man and wife, more than sixty
years old, were living in Beaufort, North Carolina, where they
had resided more than forty years. Several valuable slaves
had left them, and they were suddenly reduced from a condi-
tion of comfortable independence to poverty, and without any
accusation of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. They had
a colored child, seven years old, a pet of her mistress, raised
in her house, and fed from her own table. These old people
had no children. Several soldiers had entered their dwelling,
and forcibly taken the child away. I ordered the child to be
returned to her home. There was no possibility it could be car-
ried out of our lines. The town was under the 'guns of Fort
Macon, and there was no rebel soldier within thirty miles.
I believe I was right, and would do so again, under the same
And for these acts, Mr. Colyer — bearing false witness
against his neighbor — would hold me up to the country as
one engaged in catching runaway slaves, and sending them
to the rebel lines.
When slaves came within our lines, the property of rebels,
I not only protected them, but recommended them for em-
ployment on our forts, and, in some instances, secured pay-
ment of their wages. I will not waste time by replying to
what correspondents of papers have written. Their commu-n
nications bear intrinsic evidence of having been inspired by
Mr. Colyer. It is enough to prove that he is guilty of false-
hood, without replying to letter-writers, who had no personal
knowledge of what they wrote, but merely gave rumors —
"it is said," "it is reported," etc., etc.
It was my misfortune, Mr. Sumner, to have been born in
a slave-holding country, and to have been a slave-holder ;
but, while living among them — the world contains no better
Christians, no better people— I never saw the day when I
would not as soon have stolen a sheep as to have taken any
part in catching a runaway slave. I know you cannot ap-
preciate this feeling, not peculiar to me, but belonging to
every Southern gentleman.
I would as soon have accepted an invitation to dine with
an old college-mate, just after vilifying him, anonymously, in
the newspapers ; have sat by his side, and, while drinking
his wine, have been preparing my next essay, to be publish-
ed a few days after the dinner, as to have taken any part in
catching a runaway slave.
The employment of a butcher or a scavenger may be hon-
est and honorable, but I have no taste for either occupa-
While residing in North Carolina, in 1849, I was the
owner of a slave -woman, whose parents had been the prop-
erty of my father. She was married to a man whose owner
resided in the town where I dwelt. Her husband escaped to
a Northern State, and she soon followed him. I would never
listen to a suggestion to take any steps to bring her back.
She was honest, faithful, and of good character. As soon as
I learned where she was, and while the Fugitive Law was in
force, several years before this civil war, I had sent her, to the
care of an ex-Member of Congress, a deed of emancipation. I
was unwilling that she should even suffer from the apprehen-
sion of being arrested. Her father, who was an honest, re-
ligious man, and a good servant, had reposed confidence in
me, and I would not, for his sake, have dealt unkindly with
And this is not the only instance of like conduct on my
If by any possibility I should be tempted to write my
autobiography, I could give a chapter as follows :
In the town of Newbern, where I was born, free negroes
voted, as late as the year 1835, when a State Convention
(after abolitionists had been engaged in their diabolical work,
and an insurrection had taken place in Virginia) by a small
majority deprived them of the privilege.
We had then borough representation — five or six
towns sending each one member. My father had often
represented the town in the State Legislature. About three
hundred voters resided in Newbern, and of these sixty were
free negroes, who generally voted, without exception, for him.
It was said of him, after his death, by one who had known
him from infancy, that no man, no matter what the color of
his skin, had ever sought his assistance in distress, and failed
to find a ready advocate and a friend.
The first time I ever voted, it was in company with a
freed man emancipated by my father, for meritorious conduct,
but a few months before. (By the way, this old gentleman,
for he is one, was alive when I last heard from him. He
was living in Kinston when General Foster captured the
town, on his successful attempt to destroy the rail-road
near Goldsboro. General Foster, to prevent pillage and
robbery, had ordered the Provost-Marshal to place guards to
protect private property. An abolition colonel, entertaining
your opinions, claiming to out-rank the Provost-Marshal, dis-
charged the guard, and told his soldiers to enter houses and
help themselves. Among others this old freed-man was
robbed. He was a barber — they stole his razors and all his
money, some of which an old friend of his had sent but a few
weeks before. Cannot you and the " Keverend " Mr. Colyer
raise a subscription and make amends to this honest and un-
offending negro ? I would gladly co-operate even with such
men — par nobile fratrum — in so good a work).
While residing in North Carolina, I on three occasions
defended negroes, accused of murder for killing white men.
In two of the cases I succeeded in saving their lives. This
was after I had been in Congress Some prudent friends
intimated I might suffer in public opinion by undertaking
their defence. I mention to the honor of the good people
I represented, it had no such effect, for I was again elected to
I had the honor to be for a short period Attorney General
of North Carolina, and it became my official duty to prose-
cute persons indicted for capital felonies. A free negro w T as
tried for killing a white man, and it was an easy matter,
without offending public sentiment, and in apparent accor-
dance with duty, to have urged his conviction. I might
have succeeded. I hope I thought of a " higher law," when,
by my consent, he was acquitted of the crime of murder.
Who, but one as mean-spirited as you, as unchristian
and malignant as Mr. Colyer, would accuse me of trying to
catch runaway slaves ?
I fear I may offend good taste by this egotism. But I
speak only the truth, and am vindicating a name, unstained
by dishonor, from false and cowardly slanders.
Mr. Colyer cannot criticise it, for though in one of his
reports he quotes a text of Scripture, " He that speaketh of
himself seeketh his own glory," he proceeds, with the most
silly and disgusting self-adulation, to claim credit that he
never deserved, for acts that he never performed. It were
an easy matter to strip him of his jackdaw plumes ; but I
forbear. I will not go further than self-defence will justify.
He may publish pamphlets full of fanciful accounts ; he may
revel in his self-glorification, and be as proud of his efforts as
his prototype Jack Horner was, when he " pulled out a
plum," and he will have no annoyance at my hands. But he
must not slander me, under the apparent sanction of an
So much for my conduct in returning fugitive slaves.
Mr. Colyer says, in the extract quoted, that I gave orders
to the captain of a steamer, "forbidding him from taking
any freed-men North, under pain of the confiscation of his
If such an order was given, it was in writing : Mr. Colyer
cannot find any honest man who will say I ever threatened
to confiscate his vessel. I have lived a sober man, and never
been crazy. I will confess I should have been sent to a
lunatic asylum, and not appointed Military Governor, or to
some home for the inebriate, if I ever made such a threat.
Orders forbidding the carrying away of negroes — stealing
" men-servants and maid-servants " I call it — were given by
one or both of the major-generals commanding the depart-
ment of North Carolina.
These officers wanted the services of the men in building
forts and making roads, &c, and I tried to prevent the steal-
ing of property of any kind, which was the chief cause of the
deep hostility manifested towards me. I should as soon have
thought of " confiscating " a gunboat or a fortification, as of
confiscating a vessel belonging to, or chartered by, the
Government. I should as soon have thought of confiscat-
ing Mr. Colyer, — if a thing of no value could be confiscated.
The charge that I made a " promise " to Mr. Perry, for
the man whom Mr. Colyer had " taken North," is. false.
The charge that I made a " demand upon General Burn-
side," &c, is proved to be false by the General's letter.
Some of Mr. Colyer's " friends " hated rebels, but hated
Union-men worse. They could not have the much-coveted
excuse for " finding things " — " trophies," as they called
libraries, pianos, carpets, mirrors, and household furniture —
and " taking them North." Mr. Perry was a good Union-
man, and therefore incurred the hostility of the trophy-finders.
In intelligence and patriotism, he was greatly superior to Mr.
Colyer ; in all respects — except writing fancy reports, and
drawing caricatures with his pencil — his equal. Mr. Colyer
injured him, and therefore, according to the Spanish proverb,
Our troops had plundered and damaged Mr. Perry's farm
and other property. He had a blooded horse, valued at four
thousand dollars — " found, trophied, and taken North," for
which he received no compensation. If it be asked how these
matters were managed, the answer is : sometimes the quarter-
masters having charge of the steamboats were abolition
orators and politicians, not West-Pointers.
And now for the " expatriation of Mr. Helper," — the last
mentioned of the wicked "acts of the military governor."
The letter of General Burnside states how great was the
excitement, and what he thought of the danger in which I
was placed from the negroes. The population of the
town, white and black, was, I think, about five thousand,
when the rebellion broke out. When I reached Newbern, it
was estimated there were more than eight thousand negroes
in the town ; of course, many of them strangers to me, for
it had been more than twenty years since I resided
When General Burnside ordered a guard to my quarters,
I told him I would trust my life in the hands of the negroes
who had known my father, and known me ; it was only
because many of them had come from a distance, that there
was any apprehension on my part.
My memory is, that I had not been there a week before
Mr. Colyer abruptly closed his schools and commenced his
agitation. I had no hostility, no reason for any, against Mr.
Helper ; but he was insolent in his lettsr, loud and open-
mouthed in his censure of me. It was indispensable to show
that I had some authority, or to leave the State. I took the
responsibility ; assumed all the blame ; and believe I was
That I was not vindictive, even towards the soldier who
tried to provoke a mutiny that might have cost me my life,
Gen. Burnside's letter proves.
I will give you excuse for another essay, and furnish Mr.
Colyer a subject for another picture, by mentioning another
case of " expatriation."
A respectable widow came to my office, with a lady who
lived with her, informing me that a negro-man, accompanied
by several soldiers, had entered her dwelling, and, with great
rudeness, was searching every room in the house. I went to
her dwelling, from which the negro and soldiers were just
coming out. He was insolent, and seemed to be intoxicated.
He had committed the same trespass upon other citizens, al-
leging that he was authorized so to do by the provost mar-
shal. This was not true. He had been employed as a detec-
tive, but never to enter private residences. The sergeant or
corporal who had charge of the guard, had brought them to
the house at the request of the " colored gentleman ; " and at
the request of the colored gentleman, without the order even
of a captain, half a dozen soldiers, commanded by a free ne-
gro from the North, were engaged in searching the houses of
aged people and respectable widows !
If he had not been sent away, I should soon have commit-
But how is it, Mr. Sumner, that your holy indignation
was never roused, when hundreds — sometimes helpless wo-
men and children, sometimes clergymen, were expatriated
in almost every Southern State — sometimes families driven
from their homes, and not permitted to carry household furni-
ture, or even clothing ? In some cases the power was prop-
erly exercised, but in many, without justification or excuse.
So much, then, for all these " acts." I stand by them.
I believe they are right in the sight of God, and in the opin-
ion of all but cowardly and fanatical slanderers.
That I may satisfy all fair-minded people of the danger
I was in, I give below the substance of a letter written by a
clergyman of Northern birth and association, and a resident
of a Northern State, who happened to be present at an in-
dignation meeting held by the negroes. I am authorized to
give this clergyman's name, but withhold it because, I sup-
pose, like all gentlemen, he has no desire to attract notoriety.
He makes no attack upon any one, and in the opinion of
those who have known him well, wishes only to spend the re-
mainder of his useful life, as. he has many years past, in
"alluring to brighter worlds, and leading the way."
" I give you a brief abstract of my recollections of a meeting I attend-
ed in the African Church, in Newbern. The meeting took place on
Sunday afternoon. The audience were wholly African, with the exception
of, perhaps, half a dozen white persons. The preliminary services were
conducted by a white man. After these were concluded, a long address
was made by a United States soldier in uniform. The first part of it was
rambling and vague, in thought and expression. During the latter part
of it, he spoke of the circumstances in which his audience were placed.
He said they were free ; that he himself, and the thousands with him, had
enlisted in the army, and had come down there, for the sole pur-
pose of breaking their chains, etc., etc. He then said, a man had appear-
ed among them, with the title of Military Governor, who had begun his
duties by sending back to her mistress, a slave who had left her. (Al-
luding to the slave of Mrs. Bray.) But he was glad to say that she had
been rescued again. And he wished to tell that Governor, that for every
slave he attempted to send back into bondage, a dozen free men would rise
up to rescue him. They had enlisted and come there for the purpose of
freeing them, and unless they accomplished it, would have come in vain.
He then went on to say, that they must not leave it all to their friends ;
that if the Governor continued to send them back, they must take the
matter into their own hands; that they must strike down everyone
who stood in the way to freedom ; that they must break through every
hindrance; that it would be better for every house to be burned,
and the land made desolate, than that they should be made slaves
again, etc., etc., etc.
His manner was very excited. He occupied about twenty minutes in
his attack on Governor Stanly's policy.
After he concluded, the negroes were in a state of high excitement,
when a class-leader in the African Church, a slave named Southey Fon-
veille, arose, and commenced by saying, that they had listened to a very
excellent discourse, which he wanted them to think about. But all parts
of it were not suited to all. He wanted each to take the part that was
suited to himself, and to think about it, and to get all the good he could
from it, but not to go outside and talk about it. He then spoke in very
kind terms of Governor Stanly, whom, he said, he had known from his
earliest infancy, and had often held him on his knee, when he was a child ;
that he was sure he would do nothing wrong to the colored people.
He then likened their situation to the children of Israel coining out
of Egypt — in the course of which similitude he went minutely over that
part of the history of the Israelites, and showed how they had been led by
the hand of God in every step they had taken. In a most graphic man-
ner, lie described the journey of the Israelites from their homes to the
shores of the Red Sea. He then pictured their situation there — with the
sea in front, and Pharaoh's army behind, and no way of escape open.
'Breddren,' said he, 'dar's where we are now! ' He then showed how
the Lord opened a way through the sea, and that He would do the same,
in his own good time, in their case, but they must wait his time, etc., etc.
I was much impressed with the old man's eloquent speech, and it was not
lost upon his previously excited audience."
I confess, even after the lapse of years, I cannot read
this account without emotion. I feel proud to say, that this
old man, who probably saved my life, was born, and had lived
many years, my father's slave. If he can read the Scriptures,
it is more than probable I was one of those who taught him
how. I had rather have his good opinion than the plaudits
of fifty thousand Sumners and Colyers.
By accident, Mr. Colyer, in his pamphlet, allows some
truth to escape him. In speaking of the negroes, he says :
" Many of their colored preachers exhort with great earnestness and
power, and usually present the Gospel with simplicity and truth. One
peculiarity of great, if not vital, importance, that must be considered in
forming a plan for the proper and judicious treatment of this people, is
their earnest and living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Without the abil-
ity to read, except in a very few instances, with but little leisure to attend
places of public worship, and, through long and painful years of oppres-
sion, they have been blessed, by the grace of God, with a simplicity and
clearness of understanding of the fundamental doctrines of the truth of
salvation, as it is in Jesus Christ, that is most astonishing. If one would
learn what precious comfort may be found in Christianity, in the midst of
the severest trials with which human nature can be afflicted, let him go
among this people. In the evening, after the toils of the day are over,
you will hear, from the cabin of nearly every family, the sweet sound of
hymns, sung with plaintive and touching pathos, to some familiar tune;
and listen, quietly, as you pass by, and yon will hear it followed by the
earnestly-beseeching voice of prayer. Their religious meetings are usually
crowded. Before the rebellion broke out, these meetings had been dis-
couraged by the State authorities, whether from fear of the slaves I
cannot say, though I always heard this given as the reason."
From whom did they learn the truths of Christianity ?
From their owners— men and women, Christian slave-hold-
ers 3 who felt the awful responsibility of having human crea-
tures dependent upon them, for whose physical wants they
were bound to provide, and for whom it was their duty to
furnish religious instruction. And nobly, as a people, have
the North Carolinians discharged their duty. Often and
often have slaves been seen kneeling at the same altar, par-
taking of the bread of life, with their masters. The most
accomplished women of the South — but little lower than the
angels — have felt a delight in performing their duty, while
teaching, Sunday after Sunday, the little negroes the valuable
truths of Christianity. In remote places, where churches
were inaccessible, those whose misfortune it was to own large
bodies of slaves, have employed preachers by the year, to visit
their farms, and teach and preach to them Gospel truths. I
know one case, of a most estimable gentleman, who employ-
ed a Baptist and Methodist to preach to his negroes, accord-
ing to their wishes, while his family were Episcopalians. In
the town of Newbern — before the abolition trophy-finders
came — a paradise for negroes — they had a church of their
own, capable of holding near seven hundred persons. So
great was the increase of religious persons among the Meth-
odists, that the white people built a new church, and surren-
dered the old one to the negroes. There they learned to
" exhort, with great earnestness and power, and to present
the Gospel with simplicity and truth." There they were
taught " the fundamental doctrines of the truths of salva-
tion, as it is in Jesus Christ," and " astonishing " only to
such fanatics as Messrs. Sumner and Colyer. There they
were taught to sing the songs of Sion. And from that
house, more than forty years ago, I heard " the sweet sound
of hymns, sung with plaintive and touching pathos," that
seemed to reach the heavens, like the sound of many waters.
And while their owners united with them in worship, their
devotion was kindled, and their hearts filled with gratitude
to the Great Jehovah, that, amid the tremendous responsi-
bilities attending a slave-owner's life, their slaves could learn
the inestimable truths of Christianity.
The facts stated in an address published by clergymen of
the South, of different dero ruinations, of the large number
of negroes who were communicants, I have no doubt, from
my own observation, are strictly correct. A large por-
tion of the Christian world believe that the Scriptures
should not be in the hands of the people ; that religious
instruction can come purer from the teachings of the
priesthood. Though I do not concur in this opinion, I
would not, as some of your philanthropic brethren would
do, destroy their churches because of this belief. It is,
thank God, certain, that the truths of the Gospel confer
blessings upon the learned and the ignorant ; and can be ap-
preciated alike by the accomplished Philemon and the slave
Onesimus. We do not read that, when three thousand were
converted by St. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, they
were first taught to read and write ; that they were great
and noble ; but they were " out of every nation under heav-
en." " Peter lifted up his voice," and they, " about three
thousand souls," heard and believed.
It is a great mistake, Mr. Sumner, to suppose that learn-
ing always exalts the human character. It did not teach
you what honor and fair dealing required in your intercourse
with gentlemen. In fact, you afford an almost daily illustra-
tion of the truth of John Randolph's remark, that, if a man
has no common sense to build upon, though he may have
much acquirement, and a good memory, he may be cursed
with a collegiate education ; he is soon useless and ridiculous,
and like a Virginia old field, " cultivated to death."
Mr. Colyer made a report, as Secretary of the " Committee
of Merchants for the Relief of Colored People suffering from
the Late Eiots in the city of New York," in which, while he
claims for the free colored people superiority over their South-
ern brethren, in education and refinement, he says : " In
physical strength and vigor of body, I think the Southern
refugees are their superior." Here we have the admission of
a most malignant abolitionist, that the slaves understand
clearly the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and are
also remarkable for " physical strength and vigor of body ! ''
Mr. Vincent Colyer, though bent on philanthropy, evinces
a " frugal mind." There is one white man for whom he en-
tertains a large amount of charity, whose interests he does not
entirely forget ; and that man is Vincent Colyer, preacher, art-
ist, missionary and secretary. With ingenious modesty, he sug-
gests to the Committee of Merchants, whether it might not
be to the advantage and " lasting benefit of the colored peo-
ple in New York city, to have this mission continued per-
manently among them." Again — " Understanding that the
present Committee, on the conclusion of its labors, will be
disbanded, the idea has suggested itself, whether a committee
could not be found who would place this friendly intercourse
on a permanent foundation, and carry on the work as above
suggested." Happy idea ! Ye rich men of the Committee,
do something for Mr. Colyer, " permanently." To carry on
the work, if no Christian charity is required, and no regard
for truth necessary, Mr. Colyer may be serviceable. And if
you cannot give him an office, recommend him for one. He
cannot live without — he must have — an office.
When I desired that by-gones should be by-gones, and to
be relieved from the necessity of publishing anything that
might wound your feelings, you declined, in answer to a civil
suggestion, to make any reparation, by a withdrawal of the
unjust remarks, in the " Atlantic Monthly," assailing me.
You not only did this, but wrote an insolent letter, using of-
fensive terms, and reasserting the charges complained of ;
and, with characteristic modesty, you beg me to add your
letter to any publication I may make.
But first, let us have a communication addressed by me
to the Secretary of War, to which reference is made by you :
Head-Quarters, Department of North Carolina, )
Newbern, June 12£A, 1862. f
Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War.
Your letter of the 3d inst. has not received the " immediate " answer
you requested, because I was absent in Beaufort when it arrived.
You send me a copy of a resolution adopted by the House of Repre-
sentatives, on the 2d inst. ; and desire I should furnish the Department
"with a full and immediate answer" to the following part of said resolu-
"Second. "Whether the said Edward Stanly has interfered to prevent
the education of children, white or black, in said State, and if so, by what
authority, if any."
On the 31st of May last I addressed you a letter, which I presume had
not been received when you wrote on the 3d inst.
In that letter of the 31st, in reference to matters here, I made the fol-
lowing observations :
"The perplexing question of what is to be done with the negroes, is
constantly presenting itself. I have thus far managed it with discretion.
Upon all occasions I say, I have no hope of affording redress to the ene-
mies of our country ; that the Union is to be restored, cost what it may
in blood and treasure, and this is a matter not to be argued.
" One person came to me yesterday, who had four slaves taken from
him, and told they were free, by a rude soldier who cursed his wife. I
suggested, first, that he must take the oath of allegiance ; this he agreed
to do. Then I gave him authority to look for his property, advising him
to use mildness and persuasion. He did so, and one servant voluntarily
returned to the house of a kind master. This has already excited some
evil-disposed persons, and will be misrepresented.
"Almost all the inhabitants have gone away, and the belief still exists
that it is dangerous for them to return.
"The Confederates refuse to allow any persons to come to this place —
keeping away even women and children. Unless I can give them some
assurance that this is a war of restoration, and not of abolition and de-
struction, no peace can be restored here for many years to come. I am
making efforts to induce Union-men to come and talk with me. I feel
confident I shall be successful in a few weeks.
"One person ventured to give me advice. I gave him at once per-
mission to go to New York. The person, whose impertinent meddling I
rebuked, is Mr. H. H. Helper.
"A gentleman of good Samaritan inclinations and acts, had established
a school for negro-children. He called and informed me what he Avas
doing, and asked my opinion. I approved all he had done in feeding and
clothing the destitute white and black, but told him I had been sent to
restore the old order of things. I thought his negro-school, if approved by
me, would do harm to the Union cause. In a few months we shall know
the result of the war. If, by Southern folly, emancipation comes, their
spiritual welfare would not suffer by the delay, for I desired he would
give such oral instruction in religious matters as he thought best. An-
other reason I urged was, that by one of the cruel necessities of slavery,
the laws of North Carolina forbade slaves to be taught to read and write,
and I would be most unsuccessful in my efforts if I encouraged the viola-
tion of her laws. He acquiesced, I thought cheerfully. If the old resi-
dents ever return, those negroes who have been taught to read and write
would be suspected, and not benefited by it. You have no idea how
happy the influence has been on the minds of the excellent and severely
punished people of this lovely town. This school-affair has already been
This extract might be sufficient to answer the resolution, but as you
request not only an " immediate " but a " full " answer, it may be proper
to add something more.
To the extent mentioned I did interfere, and would most assuredly do
so again under the same circumstances.
My authority for so doing was the only instruction given me in your
communication of May 20th, 18fi2, in the following words:
" It is obvious to you that the great purpose of your appointment is to
re-establish the authority of the Federal Government in the State of North
Carolina, and to provide the means of maintaining peace and security to
the loyal inhabitants of that State."
I had these instructions in view, when I made the suggestion relative
to the negro-school.
And in your letter to General Burnside, of date 20th of May, to which
you referred me, you state :
"The province of Gov. Stanly is to re-establish, and maintain, under
military form, the functions of civil government, until the loyal inhab-
itants of North Carolina shall be able to assert their constitutional rights
I ask to be instructed what "civil government' 1 '' is here meant, and
what are the " constitutional rights and privileges " of the loyal inhab-
itants of this State. If their property is destroyed or removed before
peace is restored, what "rights and privileges" are they to expect?
In the interview with the manager of the school?, I made use of no
threats, used no discourteous language, and treated the gentleman referred
to with all kindness. He called the next morning and informed me he
had suspeuded teaching the negro-children. I approved what he had
done, but nothing approaching unpleasantness occurred during the inter-
view, nor did the thought enter my mind I had given him offence.' Not
a word was said, nor any intimation given of any intention to "enforce"
the laws of this State. No such thought was in my mind, nor ever can
I do not intend to be guilty of disrespect to the Secretary, nor to be-
tray too much sensitiveness; and will not therefore comment upon what
seems to me to be unusual language, in requesting an "immediate"
My position is one of great responsibility. I am ready to meet it. I
hope it is an honorable one. It can certainly bring no profit, and is not
unaccompanied with peril. I have great difficulties to overcome — greater
than you suppose, and am entitled to all the confidence and support which
I was assured I should have.
I believe the President to be sincere in his various public declarations,
and wish to make the people of North Carolina believe him to be sincere
But I am grieved to say, that some of the most eminent and influen-
tial of our citizens, from listening to oft-repeated slanders, have been per-
suaded, and charge, the Southern country is invaded by "an enemy, who
come to rob us, to murder our people, to emancipate our slaves, and who
is now preparing to add a new element to this most atrocious aggression,
and involve us in the direful horrors of a servile war. He proposes noth-
ing less than our entire destruction, the total desolation of our country — •
universal emancipation, to crush us, to wipe out the South, to involve us
in irredeemable misery and hopeless ruin."
Though I know all this is the effect of long-continued excitement, and
not words of truth and soberness, but of passion, and altogether incorrect
in every particular; still, they are the words of sincerity from men of ir-
reproachable lives, who denounced secession as treason, down to the day
when the North Carolina Convention passed the ordinance of secession.
If this idea, so monstrously incorrect, be in the minds of men of strni
ing and influence, how must the large body of the people regard the
action of the General Government?
In view of this most deplorable condition, I avail myself of the privi-
lege I understood from you I should have, of asking instructions upon the
1. When slaves are. taken from the possession of their legal masters,
by violence offered by armed men and negroes, what redress shall be
afforded to the owners and what protection for the future?
2. "When persons connected with the army prevail on negroes to leave
their masters, shall the loyal master or mistress have permission to pre-
vail on them to return, and be protected while so doing?
3. When steamers and vessels are almost daily leaving this State, and
negroes, the property of loyal citizens, are taken on board, without the
consent of their owners — who are sometimes widows and orphans — will
authority be given to prevent their being removed?
4. In cases where aged and infirm people, who have been always loya
inhabitants — and treated with cruelty by secession soldiers because of
their loyalty — have had their able-bodied slaves taken away, their barns
robbed and fences destroyed, themselves unable from age and infirmity to
labor — shall any effort be made, either by persuasion by the civil authori-
ty or otherwise, to have them delivered up?
5. If the Military Governor shall interfere with any action which it is
known will violate the long-estabjjshed law of JSTorth Carolina, and a per-
son connected with the army on the Sunday following shall make inflam-
matory appeals to a crowd of several hundred negroes, exhorting them to
resort to violence and bloodshed, what action shall be taken by the Gov-
ernor, if any, to prevent the recurrence of such conduct ?
6. When the slaves of loyal citizens — who have never given aid and
comfort to the rebellion, and sometimes suffered because they did not —
are employed by the authorities of the United States, in various kinds of
labor, can any steps be taken to secure a portion of what is due for their
labor to their owners?
These are not cases of imagination : they have occurred, and are, most
of them, coming before me for action daily. I will not weary or distress
you by the details.
I hope I am not exceeding the duties of my place, while I urgently,
but most respectfully, request an answer to these questions.
When I receive that answer I shall be able, without delay, to inform
the Department how far I can be relied upon to carry out its wishes.
Every day's experience impresses more forcibly on my mind the con-
viction, felt by abler and better men than myself, that some course of
policy must be adopted as to the disposition of slaves within our lines.
If the army advances, and their numbers, already large, shall be in-
creased, what is to be done with them? Who will support them or their
owners— often loyal and true men, already reduced to want by the rebel-
lion — who can make no crops without their aid? The expense of feeding
the negroes will be enormous. It is estimated that each negro-man, em-
ployed by Government, will require in wages and subsistence forty dollars
per month, to support himself and family, who generally accompany him.
It is my heart-felt desire to restore to my native State the countless
blessings conferred by the Union. I am ready to make any sacrifice a
gentleman and pat'-iot can make to do so. But if I cannot rely upon the
'perfect confidence and full support of the War Department," which was
promised me, I desire to know it.
The loss of my humhle abilities will not be felt by this great country.
If I am to act without instructions, and not to be supported when I
pursue the deliberate dictates of my judgment and conscience, then I ask
— the only favor I ever asked for my personal benefit of any administra-
tion — to be allowed to tender my "immediate" resignation, and to be re-
stored, as early as possible, to the honor of a private station.
I have the honor to be
. ' Your obedient servant,
(Signed) EDWARD STANLY,
Military Governor of North Carolina.
Had you no other means of reaching the public ear, I
would gratify your request to publish your letter.
It contains no argument worth answering. If any
patriot of common sense, having any remnant of respect for
you, should read it, he will conclude, with a majority of your
countrymen, that you are not only an ill-mannered, but a
crack-brained fellow. But you can be heard. You can have
your letter published in some paper of large circulation.
Speak it in the Senate. Print it in the " Atlantic Monthly ;"
its publishers will treat you with the courtesy they have not
extended to me.
But I will not withhold the evidence upon which your opi-
nion is founded.
You refer me to the " Congressional Globe," 2d Session,
37th Congress, part 3d, pp. 2,477 and 2,596.
On p. 2,477 I find:
"Mr. Sumner said —
"I have the official report of this extraordinary transaction.
"In a conversation between Governor Stanly and Mr. Colyer, the Gov-
ernor stated that there was one thing in Mr. Colyer's doings, as superin-
tendent of the poor, a question would be raised about, indeed it had been
already, and that was his (Colyer's) keeping school for the blacks. 'Of
course you are aware, 1 said the Governor, 'that the laws of the State
make the opening of such schools a criminal offence. My instructions
from Washington were that I was to carry out the laws of North Carolina
precisely as they were administered before the breaking out of this unhappy
affair; so, if I were called upon for a decision in the matter of your
schools for the blacks, I would have to decide against you ; but, at the
same time, I don't want anything done abruptly. As a man, I might do,
perhaps, as you have done; but as a Governor, I must act in my official
capacity, according to my instructions, and administer the laws as I find
" C. H. MENDELL,
" Clerk to Mr. Colyer.
" A true copy.
" Newbern, May 28, 1862."
Then follows a further statement :
" Mr, 0. C. Leigh, who was with General Saxton in the Oriental, on
his way to South Carolina, as confidential agent of the National Freed-
men's Relief Association, and who has just returned, asked Mr. Colyer
what he should do. Mr. Colyer replied, i I must close the schools, as I
cannot consent to continue to place myself in a situation where I am liable
to be punished, according to the laws of North Carolina.' Mr. Leigh is
Chairman of our Home Committee."
I have italicised one or two lines in the above " official
To all by whom I am known I am willing to leave the
charge of my closing the schools upon my own statement.
Mr. Mendell's certificate was evidently drawn up by Mr.
Colyer. So far from contradicting, it supports my state-
ment ; for, according to this " official report," I said, " if I
were called upon for a decision," &c, and " Mr. Colyer re-
plied, " I must close the schools."
Mr. Colyer is not only a silly, but an excitable and timid
man. He probably thought he was in danger of severe and
horrible punishment. But why not appeal to General Burn-
side ? The General would have objected, and had I deter-
mined to close the schools, I should, in deference to him,
have yielded ; for, " as a man," I told Mr. Colyer I had no
fault to find with his schools.
Mr. Mendell no doubt shared Mr. Colyer's excitement.
It will be seen Mr. Mendell says, I was " instructed " to
" carry out the laws of North Carolina precisely as they were
administered before the breaking out of this unhappy
Before I left Washington city I had asked for instruc-
tions ; had left my home in San Francisco, not doubting I
would have instructions. I had been advised by an intimate
friend, in whose integrity and judgment I placed great confi-
dence, that I ought not to go to North Carolina without in-
structions ; I had asked the. President for instructions, after
Mr. Stanton had declined to give them, and the President
referred me to Mr. Seward, and he, in complimentary terms,
said I needed no instructions, &c., &c. When I first ar-
rived in Newbern, and called on General Burnside, I told
him of the painful responsibility I felt in having no in-
structions. In my letter to the Secretary of War it will
be seen I referred to this fact ; and yet the Colyer certificate,
the " Official Beport," makes me declare I had " instruc-
tions " to carry out the laws of North Carolina precisely as
they were " administered " before the rebellion !
The whole country knew that martial law had been pro-r
claimed,*and that all courts within our lines had been sus-
pended ; no man in his senses would have thought of
attempting such an impossibility.
I had no intention of interfering with his schools. With
indecent pertinacity he insisted upon having my opinion :
he said he wanted my approbation. Knowing, as I did, that
a large majority of the people of North Carolina were opposed
to secession, and anxious to be restored to the protection
of that flag in defence of which thousands of them were
willing to die, I thought it not prudent to give my appro-
bation — it being entirely useless for any good purpose to do
so — of anything which was calculated to enable secession-
traitors to excite prejudice against me.
" Mj offence hath this extent — no more."
Mr. Colyer more than once said :
"These schools had been under way about six weeks when Governor
Stanly arrived; on his making known to me his opposition to their con-
tinned existence, I (Vincent Colyer) stopped them."
The President and Secretary of War were overwhelmed
with complaints against me ; every source of information
was open to them : there was no scarcity of philanthropic
patriots ready to take my place. I was a stumbling-block
in the way of thieves and trophy-finders. I was no office-
seeker, and was unwilling to hold office one hour after my
conduct was disapproved by the President. My opinions
and acts had been boldly avowed and justified, and yet the
President and Secretary not only tolerated, but expressly
approved what I had done. Of this, I confess, I am proud
and grateful. With painful apprehension I entered upon an
untried theatre : without precedent or instructions, relying
upon the patriotism and integrity of these high officers. I
did not rely upon them in vain ; and though I differ widely
upon great public measures with them, I have uniformly
spoken of them with the courtesy, respect, and kindness,
which justice demands.
With their approbation I may and do laugh to scorn the
malignant falsehoods of a regiment of Sumners and Colyers.
I would not, for the sake merely of exposing the ridiculous
pretensions of Mr. Colyer, state a fact in relation to the
schools for negroes in North Carolina, but justice to the people
of Newbern requires it.
Mr. Colyer has illustrated his fables by a picture repre-
senting negroes — women with babies in arms, and little chil-
dren—rushing into his "public school," and beneath this pic-
ture are these words :
" The first public school for colored people in North Carolina, establish-
ed by Vincent Colyer, April, 1862."
Alas for the instability of human glory !
It is a fact well known to residents in Newbern, that, for
many years before the rebellion, there were schools for negroes
in that town. One school was taught by a free-woman, the
wife of a slave, a carpenter — an honest, worthy man, who was
living in that town in 1862. I know one gentleman who
had a slave who was a pupil in that school.
Besides this school, there were two musical societies for
adults, meeting one evening in each week, to study and prac-
tise vocal music.
There was one school taught on Sundays, by a white
woman, where the negroes learned to read.
In the year 1856 and afterwards, both the Methodist and
Episcopal churches sustained Sunday Schools for colored
children, where they were taught to read.
And the Christian people who allowed and sustained
these schools, are represented by Vincent Colyer as inhuman
barbarians, keeping negroes in a state of ignorance, and de-
priving them of all religious instruction ! The fact is, that
the law was always odious to the people, was passed under
the excitement produced by an insurrection in Virginia, and
only kept on the Statute-books to deter abolitionists from
circulating their infamous publications. In hundreds of
families negroes were taught to read. And so goes another
feather from the jackdaw's borrowed plumes.
Your letter of 29th January, 1865, needs no answer.
"What I have written already is answer enough. Argument
and reasoning are thrown away upon one who believes
" slavery to be the sum of all villanies " ; who, sworn to sup-
port the Constitution of the United States, constantly dis-
regards its injunctions, and who is now, by virtue of his position
as Senator, a leader of that class of infuriate fanatics, who
want an " anti-slavery constitution, an anti-slavery Bible,
and an anti-slavery God." I would as soon do anything to
secure their approbation, as I would catch a runaway slave,
steal a horse, stab in the dark a hospitable college-mate, or
deliberately bear false witness against my neighbor.
I have accounted for your malice ; but how to find a
reason for Mr. Colyer's, I confess puzzles me. He made no
complaint of incivility on my part. When he returned to
Newbern after his visit with you to the President, and came
back with another supply of " jellies, colored pamphlets,
blackberry brandy," &c, &c, I did not interfere with him.
As far as I know his schools were continued ; they gave me
no annoyance, and I let them alone. Yet he has published,
with malice aforethought, a pamphlet, in which he devotes
several pages to slander me. Self-defence justifies me in
refuting his falsehoods. But, besides his misrepresentation
of me, his pamphlet proves what many in the army and in
civil life thought of him : that he was the most credulous
philanthropist that ever followed an army.
He gives a disgusting picture of " Miscegenation at the
South " — a horrible story, manufactured by and for him.
To complete it, he should have added, that the brute he
spoke of had regularly for breakfast a roasted negro. Mr.
Colyer can " strain at a gnat and swallow a camel." He
shudders with holy horror at one case of miscegenation, and
yet, had he been willing to see, he could have learned the sad
fate — among abolitionists — of hundreds of those " beautiful
girls " of whom he writes in such glowing terms.
For the sake of his " friends" the less Mr. Colyer says
upon that subject the better.
Mr. Colyer gives a romantic story, called " History of a
Scout," " written down from his own lips " ! in which he
speaks of a man who kept a pack of " bloodhounds," used in
hunting negroes. I have lived in North Carolina more than
forty years, and, as a candidate for Congress, travelled over
ten counties — the district I represented being nearly two
hundred miles in extent ; I practised law there, in several
counties, nearly twenty years, with every opportunity for ob-
servation ; and I do not remember that I ever saw a blood-
hound. I never knew a man of whom it was reported that
he kept bloodhounds. Some one case like that Mr. Colyer
mentions may have existed, but I doubt it. Bat, suppose it
to be true : are all the people of North Carolina to be judged
by this one monster ? Within the last week I have seen an
account, in a free State, where a man murdered his wife, his
father, and his mother. I can find more instances of wife-
murder, and other horrible crimes, in any free State, than can
be found of men who kept bloodhounds to catch negroes in
But admitting, for argument's sake, that more than one
man kept bloodhounds, in a State where there were more than
three hundred thousand slaves : the white people were treated
with more inhumanity ; for abolitionists and emissaries of
Prison Aid Societies in Europe, " savage men, more savage
still" than bloodhounds, were put upon the tracks of our un-
fortunate white people.
I was informed by respectable and loyal persons that it
was a matter of frequent occurrence for soldiers in the army
of the United States to catch .negroes, who had fled to our
lines for protection, and to return them to the enemy for the
reward offered — sometimes fifty dollars, or less. Shall, there-
fore, our whole army be accused of carrying on the inhuman
slave-trade ? With as much truth and justice as the people
of North Carolina are denounced for keeping bloodhounds to
Mr. Colyer could find no good thing that any white per-
son ever did in that good old State. He came there under
the belief that they were all brutes, and acted accordingly.
To his colored " sisters," as he fondly called them, he was
most courteous and considerate ; to the most worthy but un-
fortunate white people, who were compelled, by the pangs of
starvation, to ask for food, his conduct was often offensive
and insulting. So many complaints were made of the rude-
ness of negroes, encouraged by abolitionists, it became ne-
cessary to appoint a Superintendent of the Poor, as well as a
" Superintendent of the Freedmen." I knew of one family
who would not submit to the violence of Colyer and his
friends — declined to apply for provisions, and were supported
by the efforts of a faithful slave, who commiserated their
condition. I did not publish these complaints, nor wish to
injure Mr. Colyer ; but he probably knows the complaints
were made, thinks I believed them, and, therefore, slanders
me. If Mr. Colyer had watched my conduct in Newbern
closely, he must have known that there was scarcely a day in
which I was not called upon to interpose in behalf of some
poor negro, treated inhumanly by some abolition soldier.
Sometimes my office was crowded with negroes, asking pro-
tection, which was never refused. They could not always see
the General Commanding ; his important duties made it im-
possible^ sometimes for days, to see me. Often and often
they were removed, and threatened to be removed, from their
houses, by subordinate officers and soldiers, and I interposed
and prevented the attempted wrong. Again and again have
I forbidden soldiers to remove their garden-fences to build
stables, or for firewood. I have interposed — never without
the approbation of the General Commanding — to relieve them
from imprisonment, when, unjustly or by mistake, they were
confined. Had they applied to Mr. Colyer, he would have
given them a jar of "jelly," or an "illustrated report," and
have told them to sing " Hallelujah ! his soul is marching
on." But for anything else — " that's not in our line."
Until a few years ago both white and black were buried
in one common enclosure ; it became crowded, and the ne-
groes had a grave-yard of their own, enclosed with a neat
wooden fence, built, as I was informed, by subscription among
the whites. There their honored remains rested, unmolested
by white slave-holders, who respected their " rude memo-
rials," as they,
"With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Implored the passing tribute of a sigh ;"
and, although wood was abundant in the neighborhood, the
philanthropic friends of humanity, the men of "moral ideas,"
destroyed the fence for fire-wood. When I heard that
"the old order of things was trampled out/' unmindful of
Mr. Sumner's opinions, I exercised the "unconstitutional
power," against " injustice and barbarism," of issuing an
order to the Provost-Marshal to prevent the consummation
of the outrage. It was arrested for a short period, but in a
few weeks the fence around the grave-yard was all gone. The
report made in answer to my order was, that they had
" asked and received permission from some of the freedmen ! "
To them, the request from a soldier was a command. The
abolitionists acted in the spirit of the highwayman, who met
a traveller, and, with pistol in one hand and his hat humbly
held in the other, said, " In the name of the Virgin, alms !"
I remember another instance of abolition humanity for
the negro. An old colored man had lost his cow ; she was
found in the yard of a house occupied by a Massachusetts
philanthropist. I issued an order that the cow should be re-
stored to her owner ; this was refused by a note in writing,
unless the negro would first pay for feeding the cow ! The
abolitionist made no allowance for the milk — feeding her,
too, upon Uncle Sam's hay ! A Massachusetts gentleman,
ashamed of his countryman, begged me not to report the case
to the General. I consented, and, according to his promise,
the cow was delivered up in less than two hours. From no
person, white or black, was any money demanded or received
by me, or by any one by my consent, for anything done in
their behalf. To the negroes, in numerous instances, permis-
sion was given to cultivate abandoned fields, and to cut and
sell wood; and no "idea ever suggested itself" of making
money for granting such favors.
Some of Mr. Colyer's " friends " cannot say as much with
truth ; the less they say on this subject the better.
Of the outrageous injustice and cruelty practised to ne-
groes by abolitionists elsewhere I will not speak now. The
facts have been published by Northern men. They have died
on the Mississippi by thousands, from want of food and cloth-
ing. Even now, from the halls of the House of Kepresenta-
tives, report comes of their dying by starvation in sight of
the National Capitol.
I remember the case of two negro-men who had lived in
the country — had lost their property, because they had taken
refuge within our lines ; they had rendered valuable services
to General Burnside, who had, upon leaving the Department,
commended them to my favor. A house had been provided
for them in town, where they lived in comfort with their
families. They came to see me, saying they were ordered to
leave the house immediately, with their wives and children,
by a " soldier-man." Having resigned, I was preparing to
leave, but immediately made the facts known to General
Foster, who promptly interposed.
And here I take pleasure in saying that I can remember
no instance of doing anything that incurred the disapproba-
tion of either General Burnside or General Foster, who com-
manded in North Carolina while I was there. I consulted
them whenever their engagements allowed, and tried to, and
did, relieve them of much troublesome labor. These and
other West-Pointers, brave on the battle-field, even ferocious
against armed rebels, never tarnished their fame by stealing,
trophy-finding, or robbery of unoffending citizens. But it
was impossible for them to watch the enemy and take care
of the morals of abolition Colonels, Majors, Captains, &c,
&c, at the same time.
They never, when requested, refused to exercise their
authority to protect innocence or prevent robbery.
Had the war in North Carolina been conducted by sol-
diers who were Christians and gentlemen, that State would
long ago have rebelled against the rebellion. But, instead
of that, what was done ? Thousands and thousands of dol-
lars' worth of property was "conveyed North" — libraries,
pianos, carpets, mirrors, family portraits — everything, in
short, that could be removed was stolen by men abusing
" flagitious " slave-holders, and preaching " Liberty, Justice,
and Civilization." I was informed that one regiment of
abolitionists had " conveyed North " more than forty thous-
and dollars' worth of property. They literally " robbed the
cradle and the grave." Family burying vaults were broken
open for robbery; and in one instance, (the fact was pub-
lished in a Boston paper, and admitted to me by an officer
of high position in the army,) a vault was entered, a metal-
lic coffin removed, and the remains cast out, that those of a
dead soldier might be put in their. place. Against these
brutal and beastly barbarities, who has ever heard the voices
of Sumner and Colyer raised ? " Bloodhounds, Miscegena-
tion, Liberty, Justice, and Civilization ; give every negro -
child a spelling-book and one of Colyer's illustrated reports,"
would be the song of these philanthropists."
" That's in our line."
Cases were numerous where old men, upon the most
frivolous pretexts, were thrown into prison, and often their
houses and barns destroyed by fire after they were robbed.
I remember one instance where several houses were burnt
and robbed, and among others that of a Methodist preacher,
whose Bible and little library and only horse were stolen. He
was brought to Newbern, and lodged in a felon's jail, where
he remained several days, before I heard of it. No man, since
St. Stephen was stoned, ever bore injuries with more Christian
spirit — humble, resigned, even submissive. He used no
words of anger or reproach. He had never polluted the pul-
pit by preaching politics, and was without the disposition or
ability to bear arms, having for years suffered from a severe
bodily injury. I tried, with General Foster's generous aid, to
recover his books, but in vain. I complained to the General
of these barbarities, of the bad effect they would produce
upon the minds of the people of the State. He ordered a
Colonel who commanded the expedition to call on me, to hear
what the clergyman had lost, and to see whether any re-
covery could be effected. Nobody was to blame for burning
the house : a party of sailors or marines had accompanied
the expedition ; the army officers blamed the marines, the
marines blamed the soldiers. The Colonel told me he could
not prevent stealing ; for while the clergyman's house was
being robbed, he left his valise in one room, and went into
another for a few minutes, and it was robbed while he was
gone. For any reparation made to this good man, whom I
had long known and respected for his unaffected piety and
life, I was denounced for " protecting rebels."
Take another example of abolition brutality to prisoners :
one party, on a military expedition, had taken several
prisoners. On returning to Newbern, they came through
Pamlico Sound : they tied the hands of one prisoner behind
him, and threw him overboard in its deep and dark waters.
When I found prisoners were confined in jail, who had
been men of good character — sometimes old men, taken by
our troops on occasional raids, against whom no charge of
crime or treason was made, but captured to prevent their
giving information — I took them from the association of
felons to a house, where, though forbidden to leave, they
were comparatively comfortable. For this act of humanity,
often extended to men known for their life-long opposition to
secession, and to honest people arrested on suspicion, the
abolition letter-writers vilified me for putting rebels in a
" palatial residence."
I may be furnishing you, Mr. Sumner, with material for
another essay ; but no matter, so you affix the name of " your
faithful servant, Charles Sumner," to it. I know you will
not be " personal." I may be guilty of the folly of reviving
matters sunk in oblivion. But I prefer the truth should be
The Kev. Horace James (referred to by Mr. Colyer as one
of " the best friends of the freedman to be found in the coun-
try"), wrote a letter, under the sanction of his own name,
making assertions not very complimentary to some officers of
the army, nor to myself. Upon General Foster's calling the
attention of Mr. James to the impropriety of writing such
letters, and to the injustice of his statements, he wrote a let-
ter correcting them in part. One statement he did not cor-
rect, believing, no doubt, he had reported the truth. When
I called his attention to this, very politely, giving, as my
reason, my unwillingness to be censured by a clergyman, he
promised to give me his author.
He brought me a statement in writing, I think, sworn to
by William 0. Brown, of the 25th Mass. Volunteers, in which
Brown says that in July or August, 1862, he heard Captain
(now Col.) E. E. Goodrich say that I had given the superinten-
dent of the poor orders for provisions, which he (Goodrich)
believed were for the benefit of persons in the rebel army, and
to feed their wives and children ; and, further, Mr. Brown
stated that Capt. Goodrich said :
A short time before this, three ladies, well dressed, and of cultivated
appearance, came into his office, with an order from Gov. Stanly, requir-
ing him to deliver them such provisions or commissary stores as they
might call for. The crier was unlimited.
In answer to a letter from me, Col. Goodrich says he
" firmly believes that Lieut. Wm. Brown, with whom I had a
conversation, did not intentionally misrepresent my language.
I did not say that you gave unlimited or indiscriminate or-
ders for subsistence ; to the contrary, every one of your orders
was most specific, and, in my opinion, entirely proper and
judicious. * " ::: " * ° I repeat to you at this time the
assurance contained in my other letters, that all of my inter-
course with you, both social and business, was of the most
pleasant and satisfactory nature. I believe your administra-
tion of the duties incumbent upon the Military Government
of North Carolina to have been most just and discriminating,
and it gives me great pleasure in relieving you from any impu-
tation which any misunderstanding of my declarations may
have caused." If I remember right, the letter of Mr. James
appeared in a paper called " The Congregationalism" I do
not remember in what New England town it is published. I
do not know where Mr. James now is. Should he see this
letter, I shall hope, though late, that he will make the cor-
rection due to one who gave him no offence, and as becomes
a Christian and a gentleman. Upon the unpleasant attitude
in which Wm. 0. Brown appears I make no comments. I
hope he will be more careful when he makes affidavits im-
peaching my conduct.
This is a specimen of the sort of warfare that was carried
on against me.
Another instance. What was called a "public meeting"
was held, in which resolutions were passed, denunciatory of
my conduct in ordering an election for a member of Congress.
Upon a report made after careful examination, by an intelli-
gent officer, it appears that a few — I think less than a dozen —
persons assembled, and several of them made oath that the
resolutions had been changed by an unprincipled " soldier of
fortune," to whose hands they had been entrusted to be for-
warded to Washington. Thus forgery was joined to false-
hood in the work of detraction.
I am giving a true history, Mr. Sumner, of the conduct of
those who are encouraged in their infamous work by wicked
men in high places. And now, Mr. Sumner, hoping you will
not regard as "personal" what I have written, I take my
leave of you»
I ought to thank you for the excuse you have furnished
me of contradicting reports calculated to injure me. I have
spoken plainly of Mr. Colyer ; in the words of the illustrious
hero-statesman, Winfield Scott, " the natural and Christian
right of self-defence " justifies it.
I omit to say other things which might not add radiance
to the laurels with which he thinks he has adorned his brow.
I treated him in North Carolina with tenderness 'and consid-
eration, under the belief that he was a "preacher," and,
therefore, to be respected. I knew " the man was mortal and
was a schoolmaster," and therefore made allowances for the
egotism and silly eccentricity which marked his conduct, and
which brought upon him the ridicule of army officers, by
whom he was called the " apple-sauce philanthropist." After
he closed his school, and went to Washington city, having
made speeches reflecting on me, he returned to Newbern.
With kind courtesy, when he called to see me, I mentioned
the fact that he had done me injustice, and was mistaken in
supposing I said I intended to "enforce" the laws. of North
Carolina. I thought he was animated by the spirit of a gen-
tleman when he said he would correct it ; he published a card
to that effect, and in his illustrated pamphlet he very shab-
bily indulges in a pitiful quibble, and re-asserts his falsehood.
His "friends" complained of one act of decent behavior !
Mr. Colyer seems to have as much aversion to telling the
truth as you have to any measure calculated to restore peace
to our country. He seems unable, by pencil or pen, to pour-
tray anything truly. I know not by what code of " moral
ideas " he can be acquitted of doing intentional wrong.
In one of his pictures he represents two negroes " defend-
ing Newbern, February, 1864," against countless rebels.
Since the days of Samson, and Hercules, and Falstaff, no
mortals have performed such wonderful feats. The " colored
sergeant " who " did not know a letter of the alphabet " when
he first became a pupil of Vincent Colyer, in March, 1862,
and could so soon write such a letter as Mr. Colyer says he
received from him, will be remembered, while Mr. Colyer's
pictures are, as a more wonderful hero than was ever sung of
by poet or pictured by historian. His credulity is as ridicu-
lous as his disregard of truth is disgusting.
But while he makes demigods of the negroes he does not
forget to magnify his own deeds. According to his own
statements, that most useful and noble organization, the
Christian Commission, owes its origin to his suggestion. It
may be so ; great results are sometimes brought about by
most insignificant instruments. If the cackling of geese
saved a city, such an idea might have " suggested itself" to
He not only claims credit for having "driven" the Mili-
tary Governor to commit himself " irrevocably to the Free
State policy," but he, Yincent Colyer, "had secured the
right of the refugee slaves to their freedom, and to be edu-
cated ! ! " So now, Mr. Abraham Lincoln, you may hang
your harp on the willows. A large portion of mankind give
you the credit of securing freedom to refugee slaves by the
Proclamation of 1863. It is all a mistake — hang your dimin-
ished head. Vincent Colyer, the incarnation of truth and
charity, did it all. And the Military Governor was driven by
Colyer's manifestation " of popular feeling " to commit him-
self "irrevocably to the Free State Policy ;" and the proof
is that he resigned his office because he could not support the
But I let Mr. Colyer go. I am in danger of forgetting
the old adage — " He is a poor sportsman who shoots game
not worth the bagging,"
I know, Mr. Sumner, that I am above the reach of your
malice. I was a young man when first in Congress, and
often, in times of party excitement, I have said much that I
would wish should be forgotten. I did injustice sometimes to
those who were strangers to me. But you deserved all that
was said of you. The coalition by which you were first
elected was denounced in Massachusetts as a " crime." You
would soon have passed away and have been forgotten, or only
distinguished before conventions of spiritualists, or of wo-
man's rights, but for the unjustifiable punishment you re-
ceived in the Senate-Chamber. " I regret to say what I
must, but truth compels me." While all good men united
in condemning your assailant, they felt hearty contempt for
your pusillanimous winnings at home and in Europe.
The liberty-loving people of Massachusetts regarded the
attack upon you as violating the liberty of speech. You be-
came the representative of an idea ; and to this alone you
owe your continued election.
Though in private life, I know I am entitled to as much
respect as you are. I have never solicited office from the Gen-
eral Government. When I left North Carolina I went to
avoid the cares and impoverishing honors of public life. In
California, when I accepted the unsolicited nomination of the
Republican party as their candidate for Governor, in 1857,
they were in a minority ; it was then a reproach to he called
a Republican. They were defeated by the " Know-Nothing "
and Democratic parties. Afterwards, when the wicked re-
bellion caused patriots of all parties to act with the Repub-
licans, and they came into power, though I voted for their
candidates, I have neither asked for nor expected to receive
any of the spoils of office, which belong to the victors.
I left my distant home and went to my native State, with
the patriotic hope of inducing her people to return to their
duty. That I did some little towards protecting the inno-
cent and defenceless, I know ; I thank the Father of the
fatherless that I was the humble instrument of doing any
good. Though I saved thousands of dollars' worth of prop-
erty for others, I made not a dollar, or thought of making
one for myself. My political opinions were not concealed
from the President. I am not aware that any act of mine as
Military Governor was censured by him.
From the beginning of my public life to this day, " among
beasts at Ephesus" in the South, and in the House of Repre-
O'er lake, o'er marsh, through fevers and through fogs,
'Midst bears and Yankees, Democrats and frogs,
no man has been more constant or earnest in denouncing Se-
cession, or Nullification, as Treason.
By extremists of the South, because I spoke of slavery
as an evil, and advocated and voted for tariffs to protect
American labor and industry, I was called an abolitionist,
and a Southern man with Northern principles. No man can
accuse me of doing anything to encourage sectional feeling.
I resigned the position of Military Governor because I
could no longer hold it with any hope of doing good to North
Carolina ; nor with honor to myself or justice to the admin-
istration. I believed, and still believe, that the Emancipa-
tion Proclamation would make the war more bitter, and pre-
clude all hope of peace. Two years' experience justifies this
Should Lee's army be captured, and Richmond and Charles-
ton taken, still there can be no peace for many, many years, if
the counsels of abolition prevail. If every slave-owner in North
Carolina should advocate immediate emancipation, there are
several hundred thousand non-slaveholders, anti-slavery men,
who will demand to be heard. They will tell you you will
not allow them to come to Massachusetts, and ask you how
they are to be provided for ? Who will furnish them land ?
They will never consent — any man of common sense, with
any knowledge of human nature, knows it — that they should
remain among them and be free.
Be comforted, Mr. Sumner. Lay aside your fears.. There
is no hope of peace at present. Enjoy while you may the
delights of your present position. In a few years you will
awake to a knowledge of the truth, that you are regarded
as a fantastic dreamer, as destitute of common sense as of
courage, full of crotchets and political whimsies. And when
men ask, " How could the glorious old commonwealth of
Massachusetts, the land of Adams, Webster, Davis, Choate,
and Everett, have sent such a man to the Senate ? " the an-
swer will be, " Alas ! poor human nature ; did not the child-
ren of Israel, even under the leadership of Moses, and after
the revelations from Mount Sinai, bow down and worship the
molten calf ? "
I am, dear Sir,
" Your faithful servant,"
To Hon. Edward Stanly.
War Department, "Washington, )
May 12th, 1863. \
In accepting your resignation as Military Governor of North Carolina,
I cannot but express my regret that the Government, in this trying hour,
should lose the benefit of your able and patriotic service.
It is my duty and pleasure to state that all the functions devolved upon
you during your official connection with this Department, onerous and
vexatious though many of them were, have been discharged with a
zeal and fidelity unsurpassed by any public servant.
Your intercourse with this Department has been marked by the cour-
tesy that has eminently distinguished your personal character, and your
official business has been conducted with promptness and alacrity.
I trust that honor and prosperity will attend you through life, and
that you will always enjoy the pleasant reflection of having faithfully
performed a high and responsible duty to your Government in the hour of
With sentiments of profound respect and sincere friendship, I have the
honor to be,
Your obedient servant,
Edwin M. Stanton,
Secretary of War.